So Your Doctor Told You…You Are Pregnant!

Welcome to another installment of “So Your Doctor Told You”. Maybe you don’t need a doctor to tell you that you are pregnant, but in this post I tend to tackle some of the common questions surrounding fitness and nutrition during pregnancy.

Guys, I know this post may not pertain to you, but you may find it useful for your wife, or someone you know, so feel free to share the knowledge.

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Trainer Mike Says:

  1. Get clearance from your OBGYN. This first step is crucial to your health and your babies health. If you had been working out prior to your pregnancy, and have had no previous issues with pregnancy or childbirth, you should be cleared to continue doing whatever you were doing prior to becoming pregnant – with a few minor tweaks.
  2. Monitor your rate of perceived exertion (RPE). For a long time, the main factor to be aware of during pregnancy training was your heart rate. Many schools of thought recommended not letting your heart rate go above 140 beats per minute. However, the latest research shows that this may be okay in some women, as long as you are not working out to exhaustion, or breathlessness. Make sure you are taking it a little slower, and monitoring your stress levels during your workouts. If you are having trouble carrying a conversation, take a break until you get your breath back. Also, avoid hot classes, any of those classes where they crank up the heat. You want to keep your body temperature close to normal, and be sure to stay hydrated through out your workout.  Nothing wrong with some sub-max deadlifts – courtesy of Tony Gentilcore – http://tonygentilcore.com/2013/02/what-to-expect-in-the-gym-when-youre-expecting/
  3. Avoid exercises on your back after the first trimester. Once you are into your 2nd trimester, you want to avoid laying on your back and doing exercises as this can reduce blood flow to your baby. For abdominal exercises, try standing anti-rotation exercises like the Pallof Press (video courtesy of John Rusin @ http://www.drjohnsusin.com) or planking facedown.
  4. Avoid over-stretching. When you are pregnant, you get higher levels of the hormone elastin which can make you hypermobile – or able to stretch further than you normally could. While stretching is VERY important to reduce discomfort during pregnancy, you don’t want to OVER STRETCH or go further than you normally could. Also, try using some foam rolling or other self myofacial release techniques for tight muscles. Massages work great for this (take not gentlemen).
  5. Avoid heavy, overhead lifting. Now is not the time to try and get new personal bests in the one rep hang clean. You can still train relatively heavy, just don’t be pushing yourself past your comfort zone, or putting yourself and your baby in any potentially dangerous positions where you could drop a weight on yourself or fall over.

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Dietitian Mike Says:

  1. You are NOT eating for two. Even though you do need to be eating a little bit more, you are not eating for two full grown people. You need to be in a 300-400 calorie surplus for optimal child development, and appropriate weight gain. If you are starting out at an appropriate weight for you, you should gain 1-2 pounds in the first trimester, and 1-2 pounds per week after that. 

2. Be sure to get your Folate.

Folate is a B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects, serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord. The synthetic form of folate found in supplements and fortified foods is known as folic acid. Folic acid supplementation has been shown to decrease the risk of preterm delivery.

How much you need: 800 micrograms of folate or folic acid a day before conception and throughout pregnancy

Good sources: Fortified cereals are great sources of folic acid. Leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and dried beans and peas are good sources of naturally occurring folate.

It is also recommended that you take a pre-natal vitamin to make sure you are getting optimal doses of all your vitamins and minerals.

3. Protein for you and your baby. Make sure you are getting enough protein (.7-1 grams per pound of body weight). This is crucial for total body development, and optimal growth of the child after birth.

4.  Nausea, heartburn, and constipation are not biased! They will afflict women regardless of healthy living. However, women who regularly eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and avoid excess sugar and fat may significantly reduce these uncomfortable symptoms.

5. During pregnancy, some foods can cause harm to a developing baby. Be sure that all meats are thoroughly cooked to avoid exposure totoxoplasmosis, salmonella, and other harmful bacteria. Eliminate tobacco smoke, drug use, and alcohol consumption from your diet.

Reduce or eliminate caffeinated beverages (soda, coffee) from your daily intake.

For more interesting info on caffeine and coffee during your pregnancy, check out this article from my friend Helen –  https://www.healthambition.com/negative-effects-of-coffee/

***By no means am I claiming I can cure these issues, replace certain medications, or an entire medical team. My intent is to provide you with some quick nutrition and fitness based, actionable steps, that can help you or someone you know. As always, let me know if you have any questions, concerns or comments!***

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Stay healthy my friends,

Published by Mike Gorski

Registered Dietitian and Fitness Coach OWNER OF MG FIT LIFE LLC

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